The Pandora papers expose secret holdings by South Asia’s Elite a new investigation alleges government officials and celebrities in Pakistan and India have used offshore companies to hide millions are these legitimate business dealings or corruption of the highest order.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan has promised an investigation into allegations hundreds of Pakistani citizens including some in government indulged in financial wrongdoing and corruption. He announced the probe on twitter after revelations from the so-called Pandora papers. It’s a global investigation by the international consortium of investigative journalists or Icij that looked at how multinational corporations and rich and influential people hide their wealth in overseas territories and accounts.
The papers allege Khan’s finance minister was involved in setting up offshore companies. khan said in his tweet my over two decade struggle has been premised on the belief that countries are not poor but corruption causes poverty because money is diverted from being invested in our people. Now fighting corruption has been a central plank of Imran Khan’s government. Some 700 Pakistani citizens have now been named in the Pandora papers including many of the country’s elite. One of the most prominent named is finance minister Shaokat Fayaz Ahmad Tareen the icij alleges. He and his family own four offshore companies. A consultant said these were formed as part of an intended investment into a bank with a Saudi business.
People who want to keep their money secret first choose from among hundreds of countries and jurisdictions worldwide that have little regulation on foreign owned accounts or businesses then they hire an offshore agent to set up a shell company or trust that handles the money keeping the identity of the real owner confidential. Owning an offshore company is not necessarily illegal. But this setup makes it difficult for tax collectors and law enforcement to find assets.